One of the things that Nan & I do with relationship seekers is to give out a list of “Must Haves” and “Can’t Stands”. It is basically a collection of both character qualities and preferences that can guide a person while “interviewing” potential mates. The instructions are to choose your top 10 in each category.
These lists serve two purposes. For some, it is necessary to limit the choices to a realistic collection of desired attributes. That is why the choices are capped at 10. For others, they tend to set the bar so low that they need to work on raising their standards to an acceptable level. Which group do you fall into: too picky or too lax?
There is a catch, too. You must become what you want to attract.
So many people focus on what they want from a relationship, but fail to ask the question “What am I willing to give?” I suggest making out a list of all the things you will bring to the table. Marriage is a partnership of two people willing to contribute equally to a common future.
Too many times we have seen items on a person’s list that don’t match.
- “I want someone physically fit” – but they themselves are not.
- “I must have someone who is organized” – but their personal world is a mess.
- “I want someone who is ambitious” – but they have no goals in life.
- “I desire someone with high moral standards” – but they, well… you get the point.
Our advice is often to back off of relationship seeking until you have made the necessary adjustments in your thinking, attitude or physicality. You are far more likely to connect with a great partner if you do.
Are you a workaholic? Relationships require ongoing time investments. You many have to cut back from your job so you can contribute more at home.
Are you lazy and want to be taken care of? This is a prescription for resentment to grow in your relationship. And resentment will create distance and isolation eventually. Try to match your partner’s energy.
One other thing comes to mind. For some the quest for a relationship is fear driven.
“I don’t want to end up alone.”
Unfortunately, this anxiety is often palpable and obvious and may be the key reason you are not able to connect. You may exude a seriousness that makes others back off. Dating should be fun and easy, full of smiles and laughter and enjoyment – not an intense pursuit toward a goal. That comes later after you have established that the person really is a good candidate for a deeper relationship. Nan suggests a minimum of 12 dates with 12 different people in 12 months so you don’t just get stuck on the first one that comes along.
You can make up your own “Must Haves” and “Can’t Stands” lists – but remember, you must “be” all the things on your lists.